The writer-director team of Bobby-Sanjay and Manu Ashokan is back after their much-appreciated Uyare (2018) and they have returned with an even better film, Kaanekkaane — which means ‘As I watch’.
Thoughtfully written and executed with a limited but extremely talented cast, Kaanekkaane is an emotional, tense family thriller, beautifully amalgamating the elements of both genres—family drama and thriller. Manu and Bobby-Sanjay present their subject, maintaining a sharp and praiseworthy balance throughout and the performances take it further to the next level.
Beginning with a calm sequence of prayers being offered in the cemetery, the film never spoon-feeds the viewers and gradually reveals the actual relationships between its key characters. Hence, one gets to know them all after a few sequences before the doubts get thrown, transforming the story into a family-thriller.
It also displays a class in its camerawork and the intelligently composed background score that guides the viewers on how to think about the characters after a specific interaction or sequence. This is one of those rare, well-conceived and highly focused films wherein you get directed towards a certain thought process by the background score quietly playing its tricks.
Revealing nothing about its core plot, Kaanekkaane keeps shuttling between the past and the present but never loses focus on the trauma felt by the various characters. It talks about three human emotions in particular — guilt, revenge, and forgiveness — that are at times even more fatal than anger, lust, or greed. Manu skilfully narrates the happenings with brilliant use of silence in his scenes, making you believe in every character despite their grey shades. They all together keep you glued to the screen, even when the film is not any fast-paced crime-drama, also having an unexpectedly convenient kind of climax with many sudden changes in outlooks.
Moving ahead to the terrific performances, Kaanekkaane has one of the most difficult roles enacted by the exceptionally gifted actor Suraj Venjaramoodu, who is just outstanding as the unsure, grieving father. His act with the soft tone, the hesitant gestures, talking through his eyes is simply textbook material for all, remaining the show-stealer. Tovino superbly compliments him as the suffering youngster fighting with his guilt, and Aishwarya Lekshmi is so adorable as his wife dealing with her uncertainties of life.
Overall, Kaanekkaane has to be an extraordinary film for everyone on and off the screen with Suraj leading them all, giving a once-in-a-lifetime kind of performance that should not be missed at any cost.
Title: Kaanekkaane (Malayalam)
Director: Manu Ashokan
Cast: Suraj Venjaramoodu, Tovino Thomas, Aishwarya Lekshmi, Shruti Ramachandran, Prem Prakash, Rony David, Binu Pappu, Dhanya Mary Varghese
Rating: 4.5 stars
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